Kids Need To Read, a philanthropic literacy program, will visit Starkville Public Library Wednesday to donate books and encourage children to read.
KNTR board members Gary and Tina Mlodzik will present a special storytime at 10 a.m. at Fire Station Park.
Each child in attendance will receive a free children’s book and a Highlights or High Five magazine. SPL’s Children’s Librarian Loraine Walker, affectionately known as Miss Rainey by the children, said this is a great opportunity for children to get excited about reading.
“I think every child deserves to have a brand new book,” Walker said.
The Mlodziks, through KNTR’s program Grow Your Library, travel the country each summer, gifting public libraries with hundreds of books. This summer, they gave SPL 596 new children’s books, with a cover value of $7,595.
“I developed the Grow Your Library program to introduce a giving culture in the youth we meet at literacy events,” Gary Mlodzik said in a press release. “Putting a book in the hands of a child and allowing them to expand their horizons is magical. Allowing that child to make a small effort in order to share that magic for future generations is a priceless lesson.”
Walker applied for the Grow Your Library grant a few months ago, and the Mlodziks saw her need for books, donating many new nonfiction and picture books for various reading levels. Aside from the nearly 600 books they have already donated, for every child that attends storytime Wednesday and comes to SPL within the next month to check out a book, the Mlodziks will donate another children’s book in that child’s name.
The child can pick what kind of book they want in their name by specifying an interest they have — from sharks to princesses to airplanes and more. Walker said this will not only give children special recognition in the library but also encourages them to want to read.
“They will have their own book in the library,” Walker said. “It encourages children to come check out books again, not make it a one-time experience, but also to have a connection to the library because they will have a book of theirs in the library that they can check out, that their friends can check out.”
Walker said she invites children not just from Starkville, but from all over the Golden Triangle to attend Wednesday’s program to further advance literacy in young people.
“By immersing the children in this integrated world of literary experiences, it teaches them first hand the impact of reading on every aspect of life,” Walker said. “It ignites the imagination and their confidence is built.”